Andi Petrillo adds to growing role of women in sportscasting with Canadian Screen Award

In recognition of her work during the 2015 Pan Am Games, Andi Petrillo was the recipient of a Canadian Screen Award and a brush with history. Becoming the first woman to win an award in the category for best sports host in a sports program or series, the body of work that contributed to such a monumental milestone was the Pan Am Afternoon show. Adding to the jubilation is the fact that there was a unique element of coincidence as the awards ceremony was held on International Women’s Day.

During the 16-day long Pan Am Games event, hosted in Toronto, Petrillo was definitely the glue that held the broadcast together as fans would be eager to see them report on another triumphant day for Canada’s finest on home soil. Not since the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games had a sporting event captivated so many Canadians, capturing their hearts and minds. Petrillo’s presence helped enhance the feeling of national pride as Canada’s home grown athletes enjoyed unprecedented success at the Games.

With the 2016 Rio Summer Games in sight, Petrillo has continued to help build the momentum as Canada’s Olympic Committee works towards its dream of Owning the Podium. In her superlative work with Scott Russell, their collaboration as co-hosts on CBC’s Road to the Olympic Games has resulted in obligatory weekend television sports viewing, adding a human element to the sweat and sacrifice required to compete, and hopefully excel, at the highest levels of competition in the world.

Such a role is fitting for Petrillo as she shall be part of Olympic Games Daytime from Rio de Janeiro with David Amber this summer. Petrillo definitely brings some familiarity with Brazilian sport as she hosted CBC’s coverage for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, also from Brazil. Of note, 2014 definitely marked a year of milestones for her, including Olympic credentials.

During the 2014 Sochi Games, Petrillo hosted overnight coverage, another international event filled with many glories for Canada’s sporting heroes. As Canada hopes for its greatest Summer Games medal haul at Rio, Petrillo may very well be a good-luck charm.

Petrillo first came to prominence as the first woman to be part of CBC’s long running Hockey Night in Canada broadcast team in-studio. As a side note, she is also the first woman to host a daily sports radio talk show (TSN1050’s Leafs Lunch)

Joining the HNIC group in 2011, it was the culmination of former producer Ralph Mellanby’s vision. One of the most deserving candidates for entry into the Hall, Mellanby hired Helen Hutchison in the 1970s, making her the first woman to work with HNIC. Although Hutchison would leave the show, it was a precedent which was fulfilled to greater heights by Petrillo’s impact.

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Jennifer Hammond covers the sporting heartbeat of one of America’s great sports cities

In an age when so many female sports reporter look like models, with the obligatory bikini pictures and/or cheesecake pictures on social media, it would be easy for the average male sports fan to feel intimidated. Fox 2 Detroit is challenging such a trend by featuring one of the most knowledgeable, likable women in sports journalism that fans can easily relate to.

Jennifer Hammond, one of the leading sports reporters for the channel, certainly comes across as someone that sports fans, male or female, would like to have a chat with about the state of sport. Avoiding fluff pieces or softball journalism, Hammond always asks the questions (politely) that fans would like to ask. This is enhanced by the fact that she comes across with a genuine interest, a sincerity that a non-sports fan could never imitate.

Known affectionately as the Hammer, her presence covers every aspect of Detroit sports. From Tigers baseball to Red Wings hockey, along with Pistons basketball, Lions football and the multitude of NCAA sports, she has her finger on the pulse of one of America’s great sporting cities. Having paid her dues for close to a decade as a traffic reporter and eventual sports announcer in Chicago, she has been part of Detroit’s sporting landscape for two decades now (starting at Sportsradio 1130).

In an era when so many young women aspire for careers in journalism, concerns over body image should not define one’s goals. Hammond serves as a positive role model, proving that hard work and research are the foundation towards the long-term goal of being a credible and respected journalist. Of note, one of the greatest highlights in her career may have come in November 2012. Along with Fox 2 sports anchor Dan Miller, the two were hosts at a Detroit Lions charitable event which featured NFL commissioner Roger Goddell.

When the WNBA’s Shock played in Detroit, it was a great sign of women’s sport making an impact in Detroit. Cheryl Ford, one of the greatest players in franchise history was part of a meet-and-greet that featured Hammond, along with heavyweight boxer Mary Jo Sanders. It truly signified an effort to help make women’s sport a serious and relevant part of the Detroit sporting conversation.

Taking into account that a group from Detroit has applied for an expansion franchise in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, there is no question that if it becomes reality, Hammond would be the perfect person to chronicle their exploits.

For a city that has provided memorable sports personalities such as Mitch Albom and Ernie Harwell, Hammond is following in the legacy of Anne Doyle, a female sports reporter in Detroit during the 1980s, in helping to break barriers. Fox 2 is one of many media outlets in Detroit setting a positive example by having a strong woman of substance as part of its sports coverage.